Since late summer of this year, our toddler has been watching The Letter Factory as part of our activity time.
As a teacher and now a Mama, these are one of my top favourite learning tools to have in the classroom, I have recommended this to parents, and have brought back this series in my home now of course. I have seen over and over how quickly children are drawn to this series and how they learn their letter sounds form watching as little as once to twice a week. In particular, The Letter Factory is not only engaging for both children and adults with its catchy songs and enthusiastic characters (as you do the dishes, or are driving in the car, you will be singing the sounds, guaranteed!) the characters take you along the way to the different letter sounds in the alphabet.
We introduced this to our Toddler a few letters at a time, and after some time, it became part of our daily routine, she will do her Montessori activities and then after clean-up, (a great incentive too to clean up), we watch The Letter Factory together!
I bought a copy for my daycare back in 2012, and they sell it on Amazon link here.
I had searched of course on my favourite activity ideas platform - Pinterest. It can be quite overwhelming to narrow it down to activity ideas for your little ones, but the simple way is to just do one letter at a time. Once our little one was ready, I knew it was time to gather some ideas for a letter themed shelf. I was also inspired by this amazing, adorable and creative idea from this blog: The Magnolia Barn.
One day we noticed that she was playing with her removable Elmo letters in her carry case and she ran up to t.v with excitement and a mission - while holding the letter "F", she held it up to the t.v and started to repeat the sound "Fffff" "FFFFFF" and to flap her arms - just like the letter F from letter factory does in the movie.
Of course - cue the tears from Mama.........I...was....balling..... - and I filmed and tried to hold back tears but could not and focused on this moment - her excitement to share and discovery was PRICELESS!
So, as Montessori says - "follow the child" and so I did! I made a list of "F" themed activities for my sunshine and today, I am sharing them with you!
The "F" says "ffff" - Letter F colouring card:
Firstly, I have to give credit to a very talented Mama "Project by Jess" who created these fantastic cards! She provides colour - as your control card and black and white for your little one to colour in - we added these to our shelves, one letter at a time. Repeat the letter and sound and encourage your little one to as well. Check our her blog and link to these cards HERE.
Matching objects to pictures - we use the DK "touch and feel" cards series and objects like fish, firetruck, etc.
F is for FARM: farm animal lacing cards, match to magnets and add a farm animals book.
F is for Fish Sensorial play: Add a letter F, a toy fish, a tray and shaving cream.
F is for Feelings - Sensorial + Language + Motor Skills: We bought our little one a Mrs. Potato Head to see if she would be interested as you can use this for multiple activities, and she did - she enjoys pointing out and placing the parts on and off of the potato - encourages language skills as well as you point to each piece and repeat it.
Add in some feelings/emotions printouts onto popsicle sticks and a mirror on the side - practice your happy and sad faces. Our toddler enjoyed this activity too~
F is for FALL - objects: acorns, pumpkins, and leaves - SORT, COUNTING, MATCH and NAME THE ITEMS/COLOURS. Hands-on fun - so many possibilities. You can even add real items to the shelf as well from outdoors!
"Clean up, clean up" - use a dustpan to practice cleaning the leaves! Great for motor skills.
Acorns Puzzle - this one from Tender Leaf Toys from Amazon, is great, and love the Montessori wooden aspect to it, as well as all the learning possibilities.
F is for Fall and leaves ART ACTIVITY - great for FINE MOTOR and sensorial play - set up an art activity using a dollar store makeup organizer - glue stick, construction paper, a themed template like a leaf, pumpkin or acorn, and paint away!
I added this activities to the shelf over a two week period - just rotated and added a few at time, following the childs interest.
GET OUTDOORS - another great way to explore fall themed items is to get out in nature. This week, we collected leaves! Definitely had to wash wash wash our hands, but was worth it!
Hope you found some letter "F" inspiration for your letter themed shelf/activity ideas for your little ones!